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Arts and Entertainment

Patton Oswalt Vows To Finish His Late Wife's True Crime Book About The 'Golden State Killer'

Patton Oswalt and Michelle McNamara (Photo by Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images)
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Comedian Patton Oswalt has announced his plans to complete the true crime book his wife, Michelle McNamara, was working on prior to her death. Michelle McNamara tragically died in her sleep at age 46 in her L.A. home in April. McNamara was a crime writer who took an interest in unsolved cases, especially one surrounding a serial killer she called the "Golden State Killer" who terrorized California in the late 70s though the mid-80s.

Oswalt and McNamara married in 2005, and had one daughter together. On Monday, Patton published a post on his Facebook page about processing the grief of his wife's sudden death. In it, Oswalt mentioned the book McNamara had been writing about the Golden State Killer.

Michelle McNamara got yanked off the planet and out of life 102 days ago. She left behind an amazing unfinished book, about a horrific series of murders that everyone -- including the retired homicide detectives she worked with -- was sure she'd solve. The Golden State Killer. She gave him that name, in an article for Los Angeles Magazine. She was going to figure out the real name behind it.

He also wrote that any energy he's had since her death on April 21 he has put into finishing that book. "With a lot of help from some very amazing people. It will come out. I will let you know. It's all her. We're just taking what's there and letting it tell us how to shape it. It's amazing," he wrote.

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The killer in question is believed to be responsible for as many as 45 rapes and 10 murders throughout California between 1979 and 1986. He has been known by several names including the Original Night Stalker, the East Area Rapist, the Diamond Knot Killer and the Golden State Killer. The Original Night Stalker moniker differentiates him from Richard Ramirez, who was also known as the Night Stalker and who was active in Southern California in the mid-80s.

It is believed that the Golden State Killer began as a burglar in east Sacramento, then escalated to sexual assault, and finally murder. The killings took place in Southern California cities including Goleta, Ventura, and Dana Point. His last known murder took place in Irvine in 1986. According to McNamara's piece on the killer for L.A. Magazine, he stole personal items from his victims, including wedding rings, ID cards and cuff links. He also conducted excessive surveillance prior to his attacks, and would frequently call his victims, sometimes hanging up before speaking, pretending to have the wrong number, or leaving a threatening message. He would often tie his victims up (using what is known as a diamond knot) before bludgeoning them to death.

In a 2013 interview with LAist, McNamara said she was interested in the case because it seems "solvable."

The Golden State Killer attacked in relatively specific geographic locations: Sacramento, Davis, Modesto, Walnut Creek, Goleta, Ventura, Dana Point and Irvine, to name just a few, from 1976-1986. It seemed to me with the advent of information technology and public record aggregators that it would be possible to establish a list of viable suspects, of white men of a certain age who lived or worked in some or all of those locations. I discovered a community of people online that were essentially "crowdsourcing" the case, doing their own data mining and investigating, and that fascinated me.

Just this June, the FBI announced their continued search for the killer, calling him the East Area Rapist.

The suspect would be between 60 and 75 years old now. The FBI described him as a white male, close to six feet tall, with blond or light brown hair and an athletic build" who "may have an interest or training in military or law enforcement techniques, and he was proficient with firearms."

[h/t The Los Angeles Times]

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